Sir William Holburne was set to embark on a navel career when his elder brother passed away and he inherited the family title and a very modest fortune. Immediately after leaving the navy he took an 18-month tour of Europe which sparked a life-long interest in art and a keen eye for collecting work before he returned to the UK. He mostly enjoyed bronze sculptures, silver, porcelain and Dutch landscapes.
His wish was that the ownership of his collection passed to the city of Bath, and it's now housed in the Holburne Museum, which is also home to his personal library of 1800 periodicals, art reference books and catalogues.
In addition to this collection, there is an impressive calendar of exhibitions and events throughout the year and interactive workshops for all the family.
The Holburne Museum is set in the historic Sydney Gardens – a favourite place for promenading in Georgian times – and is the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors and some quiet relaxation.
The front of the building is in the traditional Bath stone, however when the building was renovated, the back was re-design by architect Eric Parry in order to solve the museums spacing needs but also to provide disabled access, a fantastic café and an education room. The new extension, built in glass and moulded ceramic, offers a stark contemporary contrast to its historic frontage, creating a light, open space that opens seamlessly on to the gardens.
A visit to the Holburne is a must on any trip to Bath.